“What’s the best car for a first-time car owner?” and “What’s the best car for under a million?” are probably two of the questions I encounter the most as a motoring journalist. They’re perfectly valid questions of course, but it’s also one that’s not so easily answered, especially in an industry dominated by great choices at the sub PhP 1-million price range. The Honda Brio is one of those choices, and it happens to be a really great one. Here’s why.
It looks great
This second-generation Honda Brio has been completely redesigned from the ground up from its predecessor. Gone are the cartoonish, almost caricature characteristics that the first-generation Brio had, replaced by a sleek, handsome exterior that borrows the best bits from the Honda design language. Its proportions are great too, with a well-balanced silhouette not usually found on hatchbacks.
It’s extremely practical
The Honda Brio’s wheelbase has been stretched 60mm more than its predecessor. This not only means it gets a roomier interior, but cargo space has been much improved as well, now totaling 258 liters of cargo volume with the rear seats up – an 86-liter improvement from last gen. And while you can’t fold the rear seats in a split, the entire second row folds down to reveal a cavernous 710 liters of cargo room, which is more than enough to carry pretty much anything from giant flat-screen TVs to an entire drum set. And if its cargo versatility isn’t enough to convince you of its practicality, we managed to achieve 12.3 km/L on combined highway and city driving conditions, which is excellent.
It’s easy to drive
Possibly the best argument here is the Honda Brio’s easy-to-drive characteristics that make it ideal for going around the city. Not only do its compact dimensions make it easy to squeeze through traffic and park in even the tightest parking spaces, but its engine is peppy enough to add a dose of fun to the drive. Granted, its 1.2-liter engine with 90 hp and 81 lb-ft of torque is a bit of a step down from its predecessor, but you’ll never feel it in real world scenarios, and it certainly doesn’t diminish its capability to supply acceleration when you need it – even on the highway.
It’s got great equipment for the price
Even at the top-of-the-line RS Black Top trim we have here, the Honda Brio is priced at PhP 735,000, with the base model Brio 1.2 S coming in at PhP 598,000, making it one of the most affordable cars in the industry. The entire range gets front driver and passenger airbags and ABS, while the RS trim gets power folding side mirrors, a 7-inch touchscreen powering 4 speakers and 2 tweeters, speed-sensing door locks, and all the nice bits such as 15-inch alloy wheels and the sporty grille and bumpers.
It’s a Honda
The Honda Brio may be Honda’s most affordable car, but that doesn’t mean they compromised with its build quality. The Honda Brio impresses with a solidly built interior and a highly refined driving experience for the price, continuing Honda’s tradition of manufacturing quality vehicles. There aren’t a lot of brands I’d trust for a first car, but Honda is certainly one of them.
|Engine||inline-4, 1199cc, sohc, electronic fuel injection, i-VTEC, CVT|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||88 bhp @ 6000 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||81 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||13.8|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||17|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||735,000|
|What's Great||Probably the most practical car in the market today|
|What's Not So||60/40 split folding rear seats would be nice|
|C! Editors Rating||9/10|